Forest Trail Middle School Teams Up With Park Forest Rotary

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Early Act Program Introduces Youth to Rotary

Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)—The February 12 regular meeting of the village board began with students from Forest Trail Middle School, members of the Park Forest Rotary Club’s Early Act Program, leading the board and those present in the Pledge of Allegiance.  At the conclusion, their moderator, Jenn Grossinger, made a brief presentation, saying that the Forest Trail Middle School Early Act Club along with the Park Forest Rotary is collecting G-rated DVDs to be donated to the Ronald McDonald Charities.  “They may be new or used DVDs, and if you have a donation, we are collecting through Friday, February 23rd.”  She said the DVDs can be dropped off at the main office of Forest Trail Middle School, 215 Wilson St., or those interested in donating can call Ms. Grossinger at 708-668-9653.

Contacted by phone, Park Forest resident and Rotarian Jim Settles commented, “This is a program that is sponsored by the Rotary, and to me it is one of the best things that America can do for its youth at this time.  It’s a program that is going to teach them something about service above self, and that we each much live by the four-way test of things we think, say, and do.  The Rotary Four Way Test is: 1. Is it true?  2.  Is it fair to all concerned?  3.  Will it build good will and better friendships?  4.  Is it beneficial to all concerned?”

Settles continued, “There are four of us on the committee from the Rotary, myself as chairman, Dr. Nancy Orlinsky, Robert McCray, and our past president, Gene Sparing.  What has happened is over the last two years we have fed the children, sent packages all over the world; we have worked with the Angle Project from the churches, where we will collect things at Christmas time, to give to children whose both parents are incarcerated.  The children go through the program with the help of teachers Jenn Grossinger and Valerie Valente.  They volunteered for the program, and they are running the program throughout the year, and we hope to have some continuity next year with the same students, and new students coming to the school next year.  We make sure the children learn about Parliamentary Procedures to run their meetings.  They decide what programs they want, and already this year, they have this program [benefiting the Ronald McDonald Charities] that they’re doing.  They were hoping they would get some donations from people at the village.”

usbank-logo He concluded with kind words for the program’s primary sponsor, “U.S. Bank of Park Forest is sponsoring our t-shirts, and they have also given us a program where we gave out popcorn at the bank, and people gave us donations to help us.  The bank president has done this two years in a row.”

Gene Sparing, also a resident of Park Forest, added his praises of the program, “There are fourteen kids and two teachers.  They meet weekly.   Early Act is a grade school version of Rotary, and they meet every week after school.  The purpose of the meeting is fellowship, service, and to raise money for the service projects.  They just got started toward the end of the calendar year this year.”

Sparing also had high praises for the program’s sponsor, “The kids jumped in right away to sell popcorn at U.S. Bank, 5 kids showed up Friday afternoon and 5 Saturday morning.  U.S. Bank provides a wonderful service.  They provide the popcorn machine, the bags, the popcorn, and their clientele, and all the money is donated to the kids.  Deborah Sedberry, president of the U.S. Bank in Park Forest, is to be commended for that.”

He spoke about the students’ induction “Their first field trip as an Early Act club was to the Rotary board meeting and then the regular meeting.  It was an opportunity to watch Parliamentary Procedure in action.  They went to the regular meeting of the Rotary Club of Park Forest, and were our guests for lunch.  During the meeting, the youngsters were inducted into Early Act.  They received their membership kits.  Each child receives an Early Act t-shirt, a frameable version of the Rotary Four-Way Test, the object of Early Act, Early Act stickers, their business card size ‘Four-Way Test,’ a history of Early Act, a history of the Four-Way Test in Rotary, a name tag credential to wear at meetings, a table tent identifier with their name and office on it, and their Early Act Membership Certificate.”